T-Mobile’s “2012 Is The Year T-Mobile Fixes Churn” Plan

T-Mobile Philip Humm was clear in his Welcome 2012 Statement to T-Mobile employees that fixing churn was a top priority. “I want to stress that it is critical we fix Churn in 2012. For every customer who renews their contract with T-Mobile, we lose one. That is a dead end, not a growth path. We have established a plan for 2012 that will improve the customer experience and enrich how we interact with our customers.”

So what exactly is that plan? We, we likely may never know the whole plan, but we just got a glimpse at part of the plan and where T-Mobile will focus as 2012 rolls on. Humm’s statements recognize he understands where the problem is, but without addressing how to fix it, T-Mobile will stay in neutral. So how do they fix it? According to these leaked images, “It all starts with fixing the basic reasons that customers leave and improving the customer experience.”

T-Mobile will shift it’s energy and focus on:

  • The Network, T-Mobile’s biggest asset will see an increased focus on network quality and further improving in-home coverage.
  • Handsets are one of the biggest reasons customers walk in the door and T-Mobile wants their 2G and 3G customer base to recognize the 4G handsets and the quality they represent.
  • T-Mobile needs to continue emphasizing their value, knowing they have the “best value in wireless” and will continue to “drumbeat” on affordable 4G.
  • T-Mobile’s fees and contract terms have represented a very large part of angry customers recently, reconnect fees, warranty fees etc…have all upset longtime customers who felt frustrated by fees that seem to come out of nowhere.
  • Involuntary churn represents a portion of the customer base who aren’t properly fitted for a rate plan selection and T-Mobile employees need to be aware of customer needs and then direct them to the right plan.
  • Ensuring that first impressions last, customers who tend to leave right away will do so in the first 180 days so T-Mobile employees need to make sure that they are properly fitted with the right phone, the right coverage and the right rate plan.
  • Employees should get comfortable telling a customer “no,” allowing for a T-Mobile rep to emphasize when and where a customer might have bad service and telling them exactly that. It sounds like a risky move on behalf of a major telecom player, but it helps make sure that the right customers are having the right experience.
  • Customer relationship management will help allow for the return of T-Mobile making customers feel like family. This is what we all felt before AT&T and 2011 came along, now it’s time to get that feeling back.
  • Renewals are a major emphasis and that means keeping customers before acquiring new ones. This requires T-Mobile to have enticing rate plan offers and a solid handset lineup…Let me add in that it should also mean that T-Mobile’s sales and promotions include current customers. T-Mobile’s midnight sales which take place almost every night are only good for new customers and add-a-lines. That creates resentment among the T-Mobile faithful and if this means they have to stop the midnight offers nightly and perhaps make them weekly, than so be it. Just let current customers take advantage of them.

All in all, I think T-Mobile has a good game plan here, with plenty of room to add in new initiatives and ideas that will help restore them to their JD Power award-winning status. So what do you think T-Mobile can do to help win back customer loyalty and bring new customers in through the door? Based on some of the common complaints I read, you’d say:

  • Continue emphasizing the idea that loyal customers don’t get the same deal as new customers, especially in regards to special sales and promotions.
  • Get the iPhone, I know it’s a matter of argument among our readers as to whether T-Mobile truly needs the iPhone but don’t kid yourselves, being the only large wireless company on the block without it, hurts.
  • Continue to improve on the lengthy wait and hold times for customer service, I know T-Mobile is making changes in the right direction, but they need to continue improving on this so the customer service experience resembles what it did years ago.
  • T-Mobile also needs to remove a number of the unnecessary fees and continue focusing on the human aspect of the customer…we know there is a business side to things and we understand that. Consider what just happened with Verizon, they attempted to start a $2 payment fee and customers revolted. Recognize and listen to your customers.
  • Ensure beyond a shadow of a doubt that customers are aware to unauthorized changes to their accounts, the pay per use data add-on, the billing date change all had customers in an uproar because they simply had no idea things were changing. That’s an easily avoidable situation.

I’m sure there a number of other possible things we could address for T-Mobile and all the the things wireless carriers do wrong in the eyes of the consumer. The fact of the matter is we do understand that this is a business, however, that doesn’t take away from the idea that over the past 365 days, T-Mobile has, in the eyes of a number of their most loyal customers, become a different company. We’d like to see the T-Mobile we knew 2 years ago return, at least in terms of customer service and customer perception. Be the T-Mobile we know you can be.

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